4 Aiken Public Safety officers still off regular duty after fatal police shooting

Four Aiken Public Safety officers remain off their regular duty assignments while awaiting the outcome of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s investigation into a shootout that left a police officer dead.


Sgt. Tracy Seymour, Officer First Class Oliver Hadden, Officer Chris Lind and Officer Travis Griffin are the four named in a memo written Thursday by Public Safety Director Pete Frommer, obtained by The Augusta Chronicle.

Documents state that in all, 11 officers were initially taken off regular duty after the Dec. 20 shootout that resulted in the slaying of Master Public Safety Officer Scotty Richardson. Griffin was also hit in the gunfire, but he was protected from serious injury by his bulletproof vest.

Authorities have charged Stephon Carter, 19, with murder and attempted murder in connection with the incident. Police say Carter pulled a pistol and began firing after he was stopped by police in a black Chevrolet Impala on Brandt Court in Aiken.

Seven of the officers who worked that night have since been cleared to return to regular duty, according to a statement from Aiken City Attorney Gary H. Smith III.

Carter, who is being held at the Aiken County Detention Center, was wounded by police and captured at the scene, police said. He spent almost two weeks at Medical College of Georgia Hospital until he was well enough to be taken into police custody. He was extradited back to South Carolina on Tuesday.

The day after the shooting incident, SLED agents interviewed all the officers involved, in part to determine who had returned fire, Aiken officials said last month.

According to department policy, any officer, “whose action(s) or use of force in an official capacity results in death or serious injury, shall be removed from line-duty assignment, pending an administrative review and criminal investigation by an independent agency.”

Although Aiken officials have said that at least four officers returned fire that night, Lt. David Turno declined to say the four named in the memo had discharged their weapons.

“They were on scene during the shooting incident and (are) awaiting SLED to complete (the) investigation,” Turno said in an e-mail.

Turno said it was yet to be determined when the four would be cleared for regular duty.

Follow the latest news on the investigation